Coping With Cancelled Fertility Treatments During COVID-19

Coping With Cancelled Fertility Treatments During COVID-19

If you are going through assisted reproductive treatment, IVF and fertility treatments right now or had planned to start your consultation process no doubt you will be devastated to have your treatment plans temporarily suspended or cancelled with no clear date when they may recommence.

It will be difficult for anyone who has not gone through the ups and downs of failing to conceive naturally to truly empathise with the dept of disappointment couples are experiencing as a result of fertility clinics suspending treatment around the country. There is also another level of distress facing couples which is the potential financial impact of joblessness and unpredictability of the near future which may bring fertility treatment plans to an abrupt halt.

This is a challenging and stressful time for everyone adapting to the changes COVID-19 brings to daily life. On top of this stress, coming to terms with suspended fertility treatments will lead to a whole range of mixed emotions not to mention the physical and emotional consequences depending on where you are in your treatment phase.

You are not alone in your feelings of disappointment, frustration, anger, pain and loss or what ever it is you are feeling right now. In recent weeks the number of women and their partners contacting me with their concerns and for support has significantly increased. They are mostly seeking information on how best to support and look after each other and ask about coping tools and skills.

On a positive note, this has been the catalyst for couples to reach out and then sit side by side at home talking openly together to a Fertility Counsellor online about what they are going. Talking to a fertility counsellor about fertility and infertility is something many may not have considered before even though it is recommended by most fertility clinics.  What they gain from the experience of online therapy, I hope, is a closeness and understanding of how to support each other in a positive and effective way. Also learning to trust that they have already developed their own coping skills and resilience through their fertility journey and to keep practicing what has been working for them already.

All couples and especially women, mentally and emotionally prepare themselves for the start of fertility treatment, and this is no easy task. They are often working through the five stages of grief and loss in silence after long periods of time failing to conceive or after repeated miscarriage. Assisted reproductive treatment or IVF, marks the end of trying naturally and the start of putting faith in science and a medical model which can feel very much out of their control.

There is a parallel process of letting go happening alongside a hope and expectation that treatment will result in a healthy pregnancy. Anticipating the possible outcomes alongside the worst and best case scenarios is part of that mental preparation and this can be an additional source of long-term stress and anxiety depending on how you are coping all round.

Couples most likely effected with be those who are right in the middle of treatment, already heavily invested both physically and financially. Many will have spent months going through investigations, test and are now physically preparing for treatments such as egg collection and embryo transfer. Going through IVF required significant planing and aligning of home, work and social life for both partners, another source of ongoing stress. This unexpected suspension of treatment plans may hit psychologically like another loss for the couple adding to an underlying cycle of grief and loss.

“Having optimum psychological, physical and emotional health while managing a fertility health problem will at the very least support you to undertake treatment without being emotionally overwhelmed by it and, based on the research available, is likely to enhance your chances of conceiving while doing so.” – Ann Bracken author of Mind Body Baby

Most fertility clinics are still available by phone and continue to provide online consultations to communicate with their patients and I would encourage you to contact them if you have questions and concerns about your treatment. Fertility counsellors have also moved their practice online using secure Telemedicine Software designed for clinics and healthcare settings like DOXY.ME to meet their clients and are a sound source of professional therapeutic support.

What can I do if my fertility treatment is cancelled?

It is important that you look after yourself in a holistic way during this time of adjustment, unpredictability and disappointment.

Re-framing how you think about these next few weeks or months of social distancing will help you to manage your overall mood and mindset.

Consider this time as an opportunity to both love and rest your body so that when the time comes for treatment you will be feeling calm, prepared and physically well.

Try not to think too far into the future but at the same time enjoy making plans that will support your fertility journey and treatment plans.

Take time out and read a good book or listen to an audio book which will help you to prepare mentally and emotionally for the journey ahead. There are lots of good books available about fertility and self-care. Podcasts are an excellent source of information and insight around natural and assisted fertility.

Continue to stay in-tune with what’s happening in your body, keep up your basal temperature monitoring if you had been doing so and keep tracking your menstrual cycle.

Try not to personalise this global pandemic by using unhelpful internal monologues like ‘why me’ and ‘why us’ which I am sure you are familiar with saying. These will only increase your sense of things feeling out of your control.

Spend extra time talking and connecting with your partner about how you are feeling and coping, being open and honest will bring you together.

Verbalise and acknowledge your thoughts and feelings especially your low mood feelings like sadness and disappointment which will begin to ease with time.

Continue planning for your future and practice positive affirmations to help you feel in control rather than letting your mind catastrophise the future which I hear a lot of from clients.

Turn towards your partner rather than away in this difficult time. Make regular bids for connection, have fun and share fondness and admiration together. Connect on an emotional, romantic and intimate level. Avoid engaging in unnecessary perpetual problems and conflict. These are strategies from Gottman method couples therapy for improving and enhancing healthy relationships.

Get your running shoes on and burn off excess stress and adrenaline which will help regulate roller-coaster emotions by going for a swift walk or run out in the fresh air. This is one of the best ways to quickly change your mood and mindset and will in turn ensure you sleep better.

If you find you are struggling and need to talk to someone, many professional fertility counsellors like myself are supporting clients and couples face to face online which you can do from the comfort of your own home. Online fertility counselling is the same as face to face counselling and could help you to cope better together.

Your time will come soon to recommence your fertility treatment and this is an opportunity to be as prepared as you could ever be. In the mean time if you would like to book an online fertility counselling session click here to book securely with Acuity Scheduling.

Talking to a Fertility Counsellor About Fertility & Infertility Problems

Talking to a Fertility Counsellor About Fertility & Infertility Problems
As a fertility counsellor, I see all types of clients who come to talk about their fertility and infertility problems. Counselling is for anyone, male or female who would like to talk in confidence about any aspect of their fertility. Clients may come to therapy for just a few sessions to talk things through while others choose to attend more regularly depending on their circumstances.

Fertility counsellors provide professional experienced therapeutic support to women, men and couples who are affected by potential and existing infertility problems. They are also experienced in working through grief and loss, relationships problems and the many life circumstances which bring clients into therapy. Many of us are familiar with hearing about couples who are having difficulty conceiving or who are going through IVF treatment.

The reality is that there is a broad range of reasons clients come to talk about fertility, it is not just for couples who are having difficulty conceiving.

Therapy can be beneficial for anyone who would like to talk openly and honestly about their fertility plans or fears for the future at any stage. Getting support and guidance on lifestyle changes, reducing stress and addressing relationship problems ahead of getting pregnant is common. These days there is a range of options to contemplate when it comes to preparing and planning for a child depending on the circumstances. It can be difficult to talk openly about these options with family and friends. Natural conception, IVF, surrogacy, adoption, fostering and choosing not to have children are all choices that can be talked through with your therapist.

Other common reasons clients come to fertility counselling are related to physical, reproductive, psychological and sexual problems. Social factors such as career, relationship breakdown and the absence of a committed relationship also can have a direct effect on planning a family. Each person’s circumstances are unique to them and their relationship. Similarly, everyone copes and deals differently with life’s challenges particularly in a relationship where both people are trying to support each other. Understanding how to cope better and look after yourself with the support and guidance of a therapist can help make life feel less complicated.

Women may have a concern about fertility and having a child at any stage. This concern can come long before they are even ready to consider getting pregnant. This anticipatory worry can be linked to all types of life experiences such as relationships status, sexuality, sexual abuse, fear of pregnancy or sexual dysfunction i.e. vaginismus. For women who are having difficulty conceiving or staying pregnant, primary or secondary infertility is often an ongoing worry, something which they are trying to navigate through with little adequate support. The total loss of fertility on either side of a relationship may happen completely unexpectedly due to a sudden illness or accident and is often deeply traumatic and distressing.  

Infertility counselling also supports women who are experiencing chronic medical conditions, reproductive surgery, premature menopause and disability which may result in fertility complications. Coming to terms with the consequences of any of these conditions with the support of a therapist over time can be part of a healing and recovery process.    

Infertility often puts a natural strain on the strongest of relationships. Many couples feel that these challenges help to bring them closer together and give their relationship a deeper meaning. At the same time, they each may experience stress, tension, isolation and a range of complicated mixed emotions. Learning how to positively support and understand each other is important to the well-being of both individuals who will invariably be experiencing different things at different stages. Therapy can help couples to feel supported together and learn how to be emotionally more supportive to each other.

Parents, family, friends and even co-workers can be effected by infertility. Being able to talk freely in therapy about how best to deal with these extended relationships and situations can help to reduce stress and tension. Fertility counsellors are familiar with the many challenges that come with fertility problems and are there to help you through.  

If you or your partner are effected by any of the problems mentioned in this article or are concerned about anything relating to fertility then talk to your GP or local Fertility Counsellor. You can book an appointment online and find out more about fertility counselling and fertility reflexology in Co. Kildare, Ireland at www.orlaghgahan.ie 

The National Infertility Support and Information Group provide support meetings and information to anyone experiencing infertility in Ireland.

The British Infertility Counselling Association has helpful articles, information and links on their website and on all social media platforms.  

  

Fertility – What Are The Benefits of Fertility Reflexology

Fertility – What Are The Benefits of Fertility Reflexology

Fertility reflexology is a wonderful complementary health therapy which can be received as a proactive approach to improving overall fertility and in preparation for IVF. Therapeutically treatments are relaxing and have a positive effect on the body, particularly the nervous system.

Ultimately reflexology treatments help promote a balance of mind and body through fertility while also being supported.

There is ongoing research around the world proving the effects and benefits of reflexology for both fertility and pregnancy. All Irish private health insurers providers recognise reflexology as a complementary health therapy which promotes overall health. Many insurance providers cover reflexology as a day to day expense and also specialist fertility reflexology as an additional benefit when received from a registered reflexologist. Fertility clinics around the world employ fertility reflexologists to provide reflexology before and after treatments due to the positive effects on the patient.

The National Register of Reflexologists Ireland is the main governing body for professional reflexologists in Ireland. They promote the following benefits of reflexology for sub-fertility;

  • Provides support at a challenging time.
  • Promotes general well-being.
  • Improves blood flow to the pelvic area.
  • Improves sleep and increases energy levels.
  • Helps to regulate hormones and the menstrual cycle.
  • Reduces pain in endometriosis.
  • Increased success rate in IVF.
  • Reduces stress levels.
  • May help regulate menstrual cycle with Polycystic ovaries.

Many women received fertility reflexology as a proactive approach to improving their overall fertility. This is often also combined with various changes in lifestyle to improve overall health and well-being. Where there is no known medical condition that will stop you conceiving or decrease your chances it is very worthwhile to have a course of treatments before embarking on a more invasive, stressful and often expensive alternative. Often the affects of fertility reflexology are cumulative so a commitment to treatments and lifestyle changes is required for the best possible outcome and to prepare for pregnancy. Women may also receive fertility reflexology through IVF which can help reduce stress, improve overall mood and support women through the various stages of treatment.

Orlagh Gahan is a Registered Reflexologist with the NRRI and a Fertility Counsellor accredited with the I.A.C.P in private practice in Co. Kildare, Ireland. She supports women and couples through natural and assisted fertility treatments, infertility, sex therapy and pregnancy. Orlagh also provides a unique 90 minute Fertility Combined Care appointment which combines fertility counselling support with fertility reflexology to improve overall physical mental and emotional health. 

FERTILITY HEALTH – A Mind and Body Approach to Fertility in 2019.

FERTILITY HEALTH – A Mind and Body Approach to Fertility in 2019.

If you are hoping to get pregnant in 2019 there are many positive health & lifestyle changes you can make to improve your overall fertility. Natural fertility therapies help women to feel empowered and motivated to look after their body and mind while also promoting overall fertility. Trying to get pregnant can sometimes feel like a rollercoaster and what better way to feel supported then by a professional therapist who understands what you are going through. Fertility counselling and fertility reflexology promotes health and wellbeing and support’s women where ever they are on their fertility journey.

Specialist Fertility Counselling

Specialist fertility counselling provides gentle emotional support and understanding to women who are planning a baby naturally or through the various types of the IVF fertility treatments and beyond. Counselling can help to motivate women to make lifestyle changes while also dealing with any personal problems they may be experiencing. Sometimes counselling is the first step to getting help for sexual problems and unexplained infertility. Talking to someone in confidence helps reduce emotional and mental stress which has a positive effect on the body and reduces isolation. With a strong emphasis on self-care, fertility counselling provides a safe space to feel supported, encouraged and empowered.

Fertility Reflexology

Fertility Reflexology is a natural complementary health therapy which focuses on the reflexes of the feet to help bring the whole body into balance. This relaxing and soothing treatment is adapted specifically for fertility and focuses on the reflexes associated with reproduction and pregnancy. Fertility reflexology can be beneficial for women who are planning to have a baby naturally and has many physical and emotional benefits. For women who are planning assisted fertility treatments, reflexology helps to promote a stronger sense of calm, brings balance to the body and is a wonderful way to practice self-care during the various stages and cycles of treatment.  An important role of fertility reflexology is to help improve the overall health of the body so that it can better support a pregnancy.

If you are hoping to improve your health and fertility in 2019, then fertility counselling and reflexology for fertility is a wonderful place to start with the support and understanding of a professional therapist. Orlagh Gahan is one of the few therapists in Ireland who provides a mind and body approach with individuals and couples who are seeking professional therapy for health, fertility and pregnancy.

Orlagh Gahan  is a Specialist Fertility Counsellor & Psychotherapist and Fertility Reflexologist based at the Naas Holistic Centre in Naas, Co. Kildare. She is a member of the Irish Fertility Counsellors Association and the National Register of Reflexologist of Ireland. To find out more and book an appointment on-line visit www.orlaghgahan.ie or email info@orlaghgahan.ie 

The Irish Fertility Counsellors Association

The Irish Fertility Counsellors Association

Did you know that in Ireland we have a number of Counsellors & Psychotherapists trained specifically in fertility and infertility problems?

Specialist fertility counsellors provide counselling and professional emotional support to men and women who are effected by fertility issues. Talking to a counsellor can help get you through challenging times whether you are going through natural conception or assisted IVF fertility treatment. Counselling can help both men and women where ever they are on their fertility journey. Sometimes couples can experiences stress and tension as a result of ongoing fertility complications. Counselling can help couples to cope better together and plan for the future.

Fertility counsellors can help you through the following problems:

-Infertility
-Sub-fertility
-Secondary infertility
-Sexual problems & fertility
-Assisted fertility & IVF
-Natural fertility
-Grief & loss
-Stress management
-Relationship difficulties
-Preparing for a baby

You can find a list of some of these specialist fertility counsellors at www.fertilitycounsellors.ie or contact me at www.orlaghgahan.ie to book an appointment for Fertility Counselling in Co. Kildare.

Orlagh Gahan is a Psychotherapist & Complemenaty Health Therapist based in Co. Kildare who provides a range of therapies for physical, mental and emotional health. Find our more at www.orlaghgahan.ie.

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